Your Advent Is Too Safe
In the book of Revelation chapter 12, John the Revelator has a crazy vision of a pregnant woman with clothes like the sun, and a seven-headed dragon with a huge tail that sweeps stars from the sky.
Additionally, there's war in heaven and conflict on earth in this vision, which most scholars believe is the author's depiction of the effect of Jesus' birth on the cosmos. In other words, when Jesus was born, the whole universe shifted, the world was turned upside down, Evil was dealt a deadly blow.
Not very Christmas-y, is it?
Our depictions of the birth of the Messiah, the Savior of Creation, the Redeemer of our Souls, the Prince of Peace are not quite as dramatic. We've tamed it down just a tad with perfect nativity scenes, idyllic images, gentle, soothing songs of the season... When in reality, the advent of the Christ is literally earth-shattering news.
Philip Yancey writes, "Christmas was far more than the birth of a baby; it was an invasion, the decisive advance in the great struggle for the cosmos."
As we count down the days until Christmas, it's important that we don't lose sight of the fact that the birth of Christ is the most pivotal moment in all of history. It is the moment when the Story of how God saves the world was unveiled to humankind.
It's the moment that led Simeon the holy man who encountered Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus outside the Temple to say:
“Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
May you be filled with a sense of powerful expectation in the waning days of this Advent season. May you have visions of the world set to rights and Evil defeated. May you dream of peace and unity in our world, holding out defiant hope for both in spite of all evidence to the contrary.
May you be filled with holy discontent to accept things as they are, believing that because of Jesus, they won't be that way forever. May you feel the courage to rise up and set your hand to the plough for the sake of the kingdom of God, which is now and not yet.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.